One of the members of the local photography group I’m in recently posted a prompt asking people to pick one word that describes themselves as a photographer or their photographic style, and why. I spent some time thinking about it recently, and I think the best word for me is fortunate. It’s a great descriptor not only of my photography, but of my life in general.
Over the relatively short time I have been practicing photography, the absolute best wildlife sightings, and photographs I have captured, have been when I have gone out without expectation of seeing anything specific (or anything at all). Conversely, the times I have set out looking for a certain bird or a specific type of photo, I have almost always come back empty handed. In all aspects of my life, I am trying to be more open and allowing of things to unfold… I think I practice this with the most consistency within my photographic work.
Day to day, I take my camera along when out walking the dog; somedays there will be a beautiful sunrise, or perhaps some interesting birds in the area I am walking. If I can capture a photo of it – great! If not, I’ve still seen something that has made my day brighter. And on those days when I don’t see anything at all, I still have had the chance to get some fresh air with my best buddy. Last summer, I never could have planned to watch the result of eagles robbing an osprey nest (see the post here if you missed it http://jennifersawicky.com/2014/08/10/bald-eagles-versus-an-osprey/) or sharing a walk with half a dozen northern flickers. I don’t always get great photos of these sightings, but that really doesn’t matter to me.
On my first trip to South Africa, our guide asked us the first afternoon what we were hoping to see, and we all said “Everything!”. I was so in awe of the place, so amazed to be in a place that I had dreamt of for years, that every plant, tree, bird and mammal was, and still is, thrilling. Not only does having this relaxed attitude while out on a game drive takes the pressure off the guides, it allows you to enjoy whatever mother nature has in store for you that day. Again, some of the most amazing things that I have seen were completely unplanned. I had hoped to one day see a leopard in a tree; I never expected to see that in the middle of the Okavango Delta, twice in two days! I had hoped that one day I would be fortunate enough to see a pangolin, but I knew the chances were very slim. When the call came in that a pangolin had been spotted on my last night on safari, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. http://jennifersawicky.com/2015/07/02/pangolin/
I think of myself as fortunate not only because I am happy to take advantage of photographic opportunities when they happen, rather than planning and trying to force things, but also because I have the opportunity to get out and practice something I love, sometimes even traveling to places that fill me with joy to do so.
I know this is much wordier than most of my posts, so I’ll sign off on the chatter now, and share with you some photos of wildlife encounters that I consider fortunate, whether they resulted in great pictures or not.